Friday, September 22, 2006

Perfectly Clear!

As a young man, Collins himself bought the idea that poetry should be obscure.

"I wrote poems I hoped no one could understand," he said. "If they did there would be no point in writing poetry. We still have to get over our mild hangover from that kind of modernism." ...

The poet talks about the "etiquette" of poetry, which calls on poets to be clear and comprehensible. In return, he imagines, they might actually attract readers.

"It took me a long time to figure out how to do that," he said. "It took me a long time to take the risk to be clear. People throw the word `risk' around in art. Usually it's applied to highly experimental work.

"The real risk in poetry these days is to be clear. If you're clear, if poetry follows a certain etiquette and uses standard punctuation, you're now exposed.

"You have nowhere to hide."

----------------------------------------------------------------------Billy Collins

* source: The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA


nate said...

Meant to thank you for posting this, Nick. Enjoyed.

Nick said...

I thought that this article contained some unexpected admissions on the part of Colins.